Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine during a rare address to the nation on Wednesday.
The move will see citizens currently in the reserve subject to conscription “to defend the motherland, its sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” Putin said. The Russian leader plans to send 300,000 more troops to Ukraine
What Happened: Although the cost of flights out of Russia have been increasing, Putin’s announcement sent the price of airline tickets departing Moscow soaring by up to nine times the usual price, according to a CNBC report. Online searches for Russia’s most popular flight booking website, Aviasales, also soared.
It won’t be potential conscripts looking to leave Moscow, however. Amichai Stein, correspondent at Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, said on Twitter that according to Russian social media, “Russian railways and airlines are refusing to sell tickets to men 18-65 years of age.”
Last month, the Pentagon estimated Russia had lost between 70,000 to 80,000 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion on Feb. 24. The heavy losses, and reported low-morale among troops, have likely contributed to Ukraine’s ability to reclaim large amounts of territory in the east.
Russians fearing a similar fate to their countrymen in Ukraine, and facing the possibility they’ll be forced into combat, have been left desperate, looking for ways to avoid the draft. Following Putin’s order, searches for "how to break an arm surged in Russia," Ian Bremmer, a political scientist, author and teacher said on Twitter.
The Reaction: During his speech at the United Nations on Wednesday, President Joe Biden lashed out at Putin for his latest remarks.
"This world should see these outrageous acts for what they are. Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened, but no one threatened Russia and no one other than Russia sought conflict," Biden said.
U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace said Putin’s speech is "an admission his invasion is failing."
"He and his defense minister have sent tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led," Wallace added.
China, which Russia sees as an ally, reiterated its calls for a ceasefire on Wednesday.
"We call on the relevant parties to realize a ceasefire through dialogue and consultation, and find a solution that accommodates the legitimate security concerns of all parties as soon as possible," Wang Wenbin, China's foreign ministry spokesman said at a press briefing.
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